Sunday, April 10, 2011

42 BBY: Jedi vs Sith - The Essential Guide to the Force: Telepathy: Saesee Tiin Address

Thank the maker for Spike TV and its dedication to running Star Wars marathons on the weekend. If it wasn’t for a little downtime with Luke, Leia, and Han this past Saturday I may not have worked up the energy to write this post. I’ve been highly engrossed with my teaching duties this past week and I didn’t think I’d have any time to write this month, but fortunately I got ahead of the curve on Friday which enabled me to sit down on a Sunday afternoon and spend some quality time with Mr. Lucas’ world.

And thank the maker for Plaristes! If not for his attention to detail I would defiantly miss little gems The Essential Guide Jedi vs. Sith has to offer a Star Wars chronologist.

My post today focus’ upon pages 65-67, which delineate on the subject of Jedi telepathy, and how this ability affected Jedi Master Saesee Tiin, and his relationship with his own Jedi Master Omo Bouri.

Master Saesse Tiin, an Iktotchi Jedi who is not given to speaking, recorded for future padawan’s his experience with telepathy, and did so by outlining the strengths and weaknesses of such an ability. His most amusing line for me was how this ability caused him much embarrassment: “For unlike my peers, I was a natural receiver and transmitter of thoughts, a condition that I – not then able to organize incoming thoughts or consistently contain my own deliberations – often considered a hindrance and, at times, an embarrassment. I will not share details, but allow you to imagine” (66). And imagine I did! I think that one of the things that would probably cause Master Tiin embarrassment would be the thoughts of other Jedi revolving around the subject of sex. He was probably privy too many intimate thoughts of fellow Jedi members, if not for him, then maybe for each other. Cause for embarrassment indeed!

The other aspect of Master Saesse’s recording which I found educational was the history he provided for young padawans about his Master, Omo Bouri. Not even remotely humanoid, Master Omo Boui was a sentient parasitic species called a Wol Cabasshite. What made this relationship work for Saesee Tiin was that he was unable to read his Master’s thoughts, because his physiology was so foreign his Iktotchi brain was unable to decipher anything the Jedi Master said: “At first, I couldn’t understand his thoughts or a single word he said. It was a most refreshing experience” (67).

Upon investigating what Omo Bouri looked like on Wookieepedia, I discovered the picture above. This picture if not one of master Omo, but what a Wol Cabasshite looks like, and remarkably, this species had a split second cameo in Return of the Jedi!

In the ‘behind the scenes’ section of the Wol Cabasshite write-up, it gave a description of how the inclusion of this small alien in Lucas’ ’83 film evolved into the backstory of Master Saesee Tiin: “The Wol Cabasshites first appeared in Richard Marquand's Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, where they were shown, fleetingly, in the Jabba's Palace sequence. They were first named in the "Jabba's Palace Limited" set of the Star Wars Customizable Card Game. The backstory and elaboration of the species was provided by "ejmacki" through's Hyperspace feature, "What's The Story?," which worked with information provided in the card game. The "What's the Story?" information would later be used by Ryder Windham in his 2007 reference book, Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force, and in 2008's The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia.”

I know I’ve beaten this drum before, but this is a prime example of intertextuality and allusion at work, again, in the Star Wars universe. Text influencing and affecting how future text see and engage with images and stories that have come before it. I love this stuff!

For my next post I’m going to look at Watson’s Jedi Apprentice #11, The Deadly Hunter. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

42 BBY: Yaddle's Tale: The One Below

The One Below is one of my favorite Star Wars comic shorts. Tales Volume 2 was the first Tales trade paperback I bought and I remember reading it cover to cover and thoroughly enjoying it.

This story has a bunch of little elements to it that I really like. Firstly, I found Yaddle’s Master Polvin Kut an interesting Jedi.

Given to anger Kut fell to the dark side shortly before his head was ripped off by Advozsese warriors, which was an epically gruesome scene. Still harboring his hatred for Tulak, a warlock who killed his family, Master Kut gave into his rage and revenge, and received the results that such emotions reap.

What I find remarkable about this particular bit of the story was that Polvin was asked, presumably by the Jedi council, to be the one to deliver the colonies of Koba from Tulak. I suppose it was the council’s hope that Kut would be beyond such notions of revenge, and possibly sent him there as a test of his emotional detachment from the situation. Unfortunately for the Jedi Master, if this was the motivation of the council, he failed miserably.

The second little element of this story which I found neat was the mention of Tulak being a “warlock”: “Over two hundred years ago, The Jedi Knight Polvin Kut was summoned to liberate the colonies from the Advose warlock, Tulak”. My first instinct to this honorific was that it must’ve been a typo, and Vickie Williams (the letterer of this tale) really meant to write the word “warlord”, but through human error wrote “warlock”. Though with that being said I think the use of the title “warlock” for Tulak is vastly more intriguing. I hope it’s not an error, but intended, because it raises so many more interesting prospects for the Star Wars universe. The term “warlock” further supports the idea that Star Wars is really fantasy disguised as science fiction, and the idea of warlock warlord running around this universe only increases its mystery and danger.

The third element I found of interest was the introduction into Star Wars history of much of the Jedi council. I think this is the first time Evan Piel enters Star Wars chronology, along with many other Jedi Masters on the council. Even Piell has been one of those Jedi that has fascinated me since his first appearance in The Phantom Menace. I’ve always wondered about that little Jedi that has a resemblance to Master Yoda. I’m looking to forward to finding out more about him, which will make the Citadel trilogy from The Clone Wars that much more significant.

Moving along, I always find Yoda’s dogmatic nature a little amusing. When discussing Yaddle’s knighthood, Piell, Yaddle’s advocate on the council, had to contend with Yoda’s adherence to Jedi tradition: “Too old to resume the life of a Padawan she is, too much anger. A Jedi must complete her training. Another Master she needs”. Piell quickly strikes down Yoda’s assertion, and says the council is there to discuss her knighthood, not her re-training. After Piell’s re-telling of Yaddle’s story, Master Yoda softens his position, and he along with the other members of the council welcome her back into the Jedi order, but surprisingly not as a knight, but as a full-fledged Master.

Which brings me to the knighting ceremony; this is the first time in Star Wars history we have textual evidence of this ritual (I think prior to this Dooku mentions its “civility”), and boy, was it a plethora of lightsaber inaccuracies. I usually don’t get to upset by a Jedi with an improperly coloured lightsaber, as there are hundreds of ways to explain why a Jedi might have a lighsaber not their usual colour, but Yoda with a yellow saber? Mace with a blue one? Plo Koon with an orange saber? There were even a few red sabers in there for good measure. It was quite the rainbow. Still, it was neat to see how the Jedi go about promoting within their ranks.

My final point in regards to the comic short The One Below has to do with the main protagonist herself: Yaddle is the Jedi Master I’ve been waiting for: a peaceful, patient, and humble Jedi only drawn into combat as a last resort. A teacher and a healer before she is a warrior, she is one who loves her enemies as herself- the model of unselfish love. No wonder she went straight from Padawan to Master. She gained enlightenment in that hole, and rose from the darkness of death and solitude as a bright and enlightened Buddha.

For my next post I’m going to engage with The Deadly Hunter, book 11 in the Jedi Apprentice series. I’ll also deal with Hate Leads to Lollipops sometime soon as well. Hopefully I can keep my 7 post streak up for the month of April, but this month is crazy busy. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.